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General Motors 1961 Motorama film presenting new cars, appliances and futuristic ideas at their most banal.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: MPO Television Films, Inc.
Sponsor: General Motors
Audio/Visual: Sd, C
Keywords: Futurism; Automobiles: Advertising; Houses and homes: Kitchens
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Steve Carras -
APparently shot in TechniCOlor..to last reviewer, besides Buffy and SIssy, don't forget Jody...!
Subject: Interesting as a reflection of the early sixties
This is a fun little piece. Yes it's banal and trite, goofy and shallow, and it isn't very effective as a advertisement. It would be easy to watch it and be left scratching your head, trying to figure out what it is and who the sponsors are.
IMHO, I think there a couple of reviewers critiquing this, who aren't aware of how to fairly judge a video or anything for that matter!
Any time you evaluate something, in order to assess it fairly, you need to evaluate it, WITHIN ITS OWN CONTEXT! This is from 1961. At that time, things like advertising and television, were shallow, overly optimistic and in denial of the seemier aspects of real life. Back then, Samantha could twitch her nose, or Jeanie could blink, and all your troubles are over. Dad could have a modest paying job, but it paid enough to buy a home, and Mom didn't need to work. She could stay at home, and performing her "house making chores" in a pretty dress. Dad could come home at night and have dinner waiting for him on the table served by his pretty wife in that pretty dress. Buffy and Sissy, would be there, bright smiles in anticipation of telling Dad what they had learned in school today!
Those were days of optimism. Of course, This wasn't true for everyone, especially for minorities and the poor, but the mainstream didn't want to admit that. That was the story told by television, advertising, popular music, magazines and other media for the most part. This optimistic mindset didn't want reality spoiling the mood.
The assassination of JFK and the Viet Nam war would permanently kill the optimistic mood of the country, in the nest few years.
"A Touch of Magic", is nothing more than advertising. I can't but help feel some of the critics feel it should be judged against such films as "Gone with the Wind", "The Ten Commandments" or "Citizen Caine".
To compare it with other advertising of its era, I think somewhere between three or for stars would be appropriate... Well, since it features the gorgeous and talented dancer Tad Tadlock from Texas, I'm going to give it Four Stars!
Subject: music video
hi i used a little footage here for a music video. your original is a very interesting time piece. i just added effects for the video and such. i wanted to thank you for making this available. here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=soggyXPl40Y
all one love, nancy
Subject: Nothing new under the sun.
I think I will swap the audio track with thumping dance music, stick it on you tube and see if anyone notices.
Subject: Banal Crap
This piece of crap is crappy. It's crappy crap. It's as entertaining as crapping on a piece of crap.
Subject: I really wanted to enjoy this film, But...
I'm sorry, But it's way too banal and shallow, I doubt very much this film worked when it was new, I bet $5 early 60's viewers found it banal too. Watch "Design for Dreaming" instead, since its a much better production (Even if the singer can't sing).
Subject: Banal? Drek? Au contraire!
Banal? Drek? Au contraire!
This is the kind of midcentury modernism which today's designers just cannot seem to shake off... If you were born into the Populuxe period-- say, 1955-1964-- then this kind of aesthetic, even when it borders upon the stark or ugly, is still charming and compelling...
It had a snazziness and wit that is often missing today; if anything, it's the cars of today that are banal and boxy.
Subject: Not Camelot
This film explains why alcoholism was such a problem for women in the early 60s. Even in the context of the times, this infomercial is pure dreck. For the reviewer who compared it to Camelot, I can only say, I saw Camelot on Broadway when I was a girl - this is no Camelot.
Subject: Watch it if you can
Anyone familiar with the era will recognize the idiom, and the intent to get some milage from a familiar technique. It might have worked too -- if they hadn't hired the rock-bottom low-budget production and design team. (Which is really amazing for a US car company of the era: they had more advertizing dollars than virtually everyone else combined.)
I can't say anything negative about the overall concept, the acting, or the sets. The message is fine (at least for the era): buy a new Chevy and a Frigidare and you will be the envy of all about.
By the standard of the day the tecnical team and talent were more than competent. No, it is the overall design of the show that fizzles flat today, and I suspect very strongly had very mediocre results at best, when it was new.
Design for Dreaming, as many others have mentioned, was a far better conceived and executed production. By all means see it if you haven't already.
I found this film medicore. It just dosen't have magic of "Design for Dreaming". If you like musicals, it might be worth a look, but it really is not that good. The film is very clumbsy, as if several films thrown together. The only good song was "House warming". The scene where they were dancing on a cloud seemed out of place. I give it 3/5.
Subject: The Magic fizzles
I found this film heavy and too busy. The theme, in some ways, detracted from the products that were being promoted. (In my opinion, the design of 1961 cars were ugly.) There were enough turns in the choreography to get you dizzy, and the music was mediocre.
Subject: A Moment in Time
Some of the other reviewers have criticized the medieval theme of this particular piece of film; I respectfully wish to point out the exact era of this particular creation.
This particular film was made at the same time that the "Camelot" craze was sweeping across the United States- popularized by the assertion, who knows if it's actually true or not, that its cast album was popular listening material of the Kennedys. This medieval motif isn't at all out of place for the era- indeed, part of the charm of it is the very distinctive interpretation and creative spin the filmmakers made on such a theme.
Less charming and "tight" than "Design for Dreaming".. definitely.. reflective of the change, the rubbing off of some aspects of the consumerist veneer that were taking place at the same time? Yes. Naively hopefuly, even sentimental, rather than relentlessly optimistic? Most certainly.
Definitely quirky, and a neat film.
Subject: Long live the King
Did you ever consider that if you scratch the surface of fairytales there is something that we are taught to think of as ugly. Every hero wants two things: a kingdom (Wealth) and a bride (Sex)- yet societies have at all times and places sought to deny people these things, preferring to enslave and castrate the many in the interest of the few - that is to say the few, sophisticated, or cynical enough to see that wealth and sex come not from moral goodness but earthly power.
The fairy tale does not surrender or despair but it also does not delude us into accepting our slavery and calling it freedom.
This film is a work of genius in the true sense of the word not as an attribute, but a companion. And the genius is linguistically related to the djinn, the aristotelian demon, that voice inside which whispers "take care of yourself, my friend, take care of yourself."
Subject: Somebody had a marketing budget to spend
That is the only excuse for this bizare movie. It's disjointed and borders on extremely creepy. The whole middle ages thing was stupid, and some of the camera angles make it look like these uber-heavy GM cars are about to come crashing down on the gaping white folks at the Motorama.
On the plus side, the house this strange couple lives in is cool, and any movie with a Frigidaire Flair in it is fine with me.
Subject: Corporate Magic
A female dancer starts out as a cutout object on a miniature stage set imagined by a calculating set designer. A male dancer jumps out to join her as the set comes to life. The implication is that the couple (and the consumer audience) are objects controlled behind the scenes. The couple dances into the past, where the woman is a damsel in distress, then back into the present where they look for the ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂmagic of the present.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ They rise out of piles of balloons to an awed audience in various 1961 GM cars in a ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂMagic Motorama.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ
But what about their relationship? With a ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂtouch of magic,ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ a wedding ring appears on the womanÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs finger. ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂThis Dream House you and I will share, was made for us by Frigidaire!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ the man sings. Their traditional roles are reversed as the wife lays on the couch and invites guests to a housewarming party and the husband (in a tuxedo and chefÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs hat) cooks the dinner. Empty GM cars arrive delivering invisible houseguestsÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂyet the real food disappears and the couple jointly throw the dishes in to a Frigidaire dishwasher. The only guest we actually see is the ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂEvil CharmerÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ from the ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂMagic of the PastÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ sequence earlier in the film. HeÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs a bad omen of things to come. The invisible guests and empty cars give the dinner party sequence a sad undertone. DonÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂt these people have any actual friends? The couple dance and sing ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂThe touch of magic every day, is the charm that goes a long, long way!ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ as the room is filled with smoke (or fog)ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂnot the best advertisement for their Frigidaire kitchen.
ThereÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs an interesting equality in the coupleÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs relationshipÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂthey both take the wheel of the GM cars and share the housework as they plan their lonely dinner party. In a consumer culture, men and women are equally manipulatedÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂand equally isolated, as their desolate party shows. The film ends on a deserted stage set with the couple still maniacally dancing. What happened to their Corvair station wagon and Frigidaire Dream House? Maybe the finance company repossessed them. Modern Magic only goes so far.
Subject: Cue the smoke extinguishers!
Almost like 'Design For Dreaming's little neglected brother, 'A Touch Of Magic' is amazingly similar to 'Dreaming', but is not as domesticated as DFD, so therefore loses some of it's appeal there. TOM tries a little too hard in the weird department right off that bat (just what WAS with that damsel in distress production with the dragon) and some of it doesn't really make sense anyways. (Like the dinner party thing). I guess what made DFD work is the whole space cadet science fiction tome to it, where this film you feel they're trying way too hard (notice it's in 35mm and there's credits at the end?) to achieve the heights the previous film did.
Still, this is highly reccomended!
Karma Hawk -
Subject: Wow! Just...wow!
I was contemplating titling this review "Bewitchingly Bizzare" becaus well it is. This film seems to be a loosely tied together story of a maried couple, but the story is just a front for the producers to throw in as much bizzare stuff as possible. Ok, the story starts off with a man designing a play suddenly a couple bursts onto the model scene he made and start singing, then they for some reason end up in Medievil times and a clown in a sourcers hat appears and traps the woman, the guy fights off her attacker and then a dragon, then after thier defeated poof we're back to modern times where the two dance and model model cars in one of these scenes the dragon from the medievil scene hitches a ride and attempts to fondle the woman to which the man replies by slapping the dragon and telling him "Behave". The rest of the film follows an equally bizzare path, the epitone of which has the couple THROWING plates from the table into the dishwasher! Folks, I am not making this up. Needless to say I highly recomend this film.
Subject: WHO ARE THEY?
Thelma "Tad" Tadlock was a dancer and choreographer, 1931-2000. She worked for the TV and stage, and "A Touch of Magic" + "Design for Dreaming" are to my knowledge her only appearances on celluloid. James Mitchell appeared on the big screen in "The Bandwagon", "Oklahoma" and "Deep in My Heart" with Cyd Charisse. Miss Tadlock's singing voice is borrowed from Anita Ellis, who used to dub for Rita Hayworth (in Gilda). Ed Kenney was a Havaiian singer; he and miss Ellis were obviously free at the time since in may 1960 they closed on Broadway with the long running "Flower Drum Song".
Christine Hennig -
Subject: A Touch of Magic
Nuveena's at it again in this sequel to Design for Dreaming. This was made in 1960, near the end of the populuxe era, and you can tellÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂthe magic seems to be fading from this sort of film. Nuveena and her beau dance a tribute to medieval chivalry, but when the audience shows up, they actually look embarassed (that was certainly not a problem in Design for Dreaming). The time shifts to the present and the couple displays the 1961 GM cars. Then they get married, move into a new house (and not a Home of Tomorrow, just an ordinary new house), and have a housewarming party. Instead of fixing all the food by pushing a few magic buttons in the Kitchen of Tomorrow, Nuveena sends her beau into the Kitchen of Today to do all the cooking while she gets on the phone and invites all the guests (which, let's face it, is almost as good). The guests turn out to be all invisible imaginary friends, though they have real cars and eat all the real food. Then Nuveena and her beau demonstrate proper dishwasher loading by literally throwing all the dishes in the general direction of the dishwasher (they all land in perfect order and the dishwasher starts itself). Not as otherworldly as Design for Dreaming, but still pretty weird.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *****. Weirdness: *****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****. Also available on Our Secret Century, Vol. 1: The Rainbow Is Yours.